Recent sightings blog 28th June to 4th July

This week has seen a summer boom in our sightings. The team at Newport Wetlands and our visitors have seen more birds, insects, mammals and invertebrates than we could all count on our hands put together! We had a first for the year which was exciting, a grass snake made an appearance more than a couple of times. It was basking in the sunshine making the most of it before the typical British summer kicks in.

Image credit: Grass snake, RSPB Newport Wetlands team

The week started with an amazing sighting of the Bittern on a quiet Monday afternoon. A member of staff and three eagle eyed visitors were treated to a display over the estuary amongst the reed beds. It soon came out and elegantly dealt with some herring gulls that didn’t seem to take a fancy to the much larger guest on the salt marsh. It really was a great sight and there was no denying nothing could ruin our Monday after that!

On a less exciting note, we are starting to hear and see less of the Cuckoo’s. The parental care of a Cuckoo does not entail a large amount of care, so after laying their eggs in a nest they didn’t build, they quickly move on to the next item on their agenda. This time of year, it’s the great journey back to Africa ready for the winter months. In 2020 a cuckoo was monitored by scientists and it was recorded flying one of the longest migrations a land bird has flown, flying more than 7,500 miles. His journey started in southern Africa where it then flew to its breeding ground in Mongolia surviving ocean crossings and high winds, traversing 16 countries. Younger Cuckoos will do the migration a little bit later in the summer once they are full grown, but they will never see their parents. It is a cuckoo instinct to up and leave and you bet they will migrate to similar locations their parents do. This trait has been studied and researched and the outcome is that juveniles will have an innate migration programme in order to migrate successfully. The British Trust for Ornithology has a great project on tracking Cuckoos if you fancy following an individual back to its winter residence this year! 

A very tiny visitor kept the team on their toes this week. Newport Wetlands to the rescue for a Goldcrest Chick that hadn’t quite learnt the art of feeding on webs and not getting stuck in them! The recently fledged chick was still having flight lessons by the looks of it but with a little help from Hannah our retail manager, he was cleaned up in no time and made a quick exit … for the second time. Good Luck little chick!

Images credit: Goldcrest chick, Kirsty Lindsay

A nice but infrequent sighting down at the Wetlands and Goldcliff this week was a Short-eared owl which gave some visitors a viewing. A male has a song of around ten hoots that will sometimes be delivered during a long elaborate flight. A typical display will sometimes include wing-clapping, hoarse screeches and barks!

Image credit: Short eared owl, Jeff Hall.

This week saw the launch of Big Wild Summer, RSPB’s summer campaign running throughout July and August. It is popular with families and children are loving the adventure and challenge of the nature trails. We will have plenty of activities and events running in the summer holidays so if you fancy a bit of pond dipping, bird watching walks and nature trail adventures then come on down and get stuck in! Booking for pond dipping and guided walks can be found at: and search: RSPB Newport Wetlands


Recent sightings:

Species: common frog, common toad, garden spider, wolf spider, Bearded reedling, Bittern, Blackbird, Blackcap, Black-headed gull, Blue Tit, Bullfinch, Buzzard, Canada Goose, Carrion Crow, Cetti's Warbler, Chiffchaff, Collared Dove, common whitethroat, Coot, Cormorant, Curlew, Dunnock, Goldcrest, Goldfinch, Great spotted woodpecker, Great tit, Green Woodpecker, Grey Heron, Herring gull, Hobby, House martin, Jackdaw, Jay, Kestrel, knot, Lesser black-backed gull, Lesser whitethroat, Linnet, Little egret, Little Grebe, little ringed plover, little stint, Long-tailed Tit, Magpie, Mallard, Marsh harrier, Moorhen, Mute Swan, Oystercatcher, Pheasant, Pied wagtail, Raven, Reed Bunting, Reed warbler, Robin, Sedge Warbler, Shelduck, Short-eared owl, Sparrowhawk, Stonechat, Swallow, Swift, Tufted Duck, Water Rail, Whimbrel, Woodpigeon, Wren, Rudd, brown-banded carder bee, Shrill carder bee, Western Honeybee, common red soldier beetle, Thick-legged flower beetle, Buff/white-tailed bumblebee, Common carder bumblebee, Early bumblebee, Tree bumblebee, Large white butterfly, meadow brown butterfly, Peacock butterfly, Red admiral butterfly, ringlet butterfly, Small tortoiseshell butterfly, black-tailed skimmer dragonfly, Blue tailed damselfly, broad-bodied chaser dragonfly, Common blue damselfly, emperor dragonfly, Four Spot Chaser, elephant hawk moth, peach blossom moth, Scarlet tiger moth, Otter, Rabbit, shrew, Stoat, water vole, Weasel, wood mouse, Bee orchid, Marsh helleborine, pyramidal orchid, Southern marsh orchid, Grass snake.

Author: Kirsty Lindsay